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A Great Place to Drink

289 pages4 hours


A Great Place to Drink takes us into a wine-infused hotel-bar at the outer edges of early 1960s North Beach, San Francisco. It’s the home we didn’t expect to find and the authenticity we didn’t know we were seeking.

When Duncan and, later, Carolyn wander into the San Giovanni hotel-bar with its dim lighting, cheap drinks, characters drifting in and out, and with Ray Charles on the jukebox, they feel they have arrived home - a place both comfortable and anonymous.

In real life the San Giovanni was the San Gottardo, a small Swiss-Italian hotel and bar, 217 Columbus Avenue, home to poets, transients, day dreamers, night dreamers, out-of-luckers, musicians, painters, immigrants, people in between, people scratching a living, retirees, and escapees from suburbia: drinkers and drunks, one and all. From out of the past, they live once again in this novel of the early 1960s as told by one who was there.

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